Irish Daily Mail

Another day, another desperate Montecito dollar. This time with jam on it!


SLICE me a loaf and spread the bread of heaven with the butter of celebratio­n.

In the week when we learned that Prince Harry has lost another court case and taken further steps towards cutting all formal ties with the UK, the first product from American Riviera Orchard has been rolled out and it is – ta da! – a jar of strawberry jam.

Are these two events connected? If you consider that one is a heritage fruity pulp boiled until thick, a hot mess that has taken the pith but is still capable of giving people the pip and that the other is a jar of jam – then the coincidenc­es are too strong to ignore.

And this is not just any jam! Each jar of the Duchess of Sussex’s ARO jam is topped with a darling unbleached muslin lid tied with a charmingly rustic piece of authentic jam-maker’s string, la ficelle du confiturie­r, as Meghan, right, no doubt explains to her dim mompreneur friends who haven’t acquired a bit of European cultural polish like wot she has.

Each of the 50 jars has been numbered, in the manner of limited-edition art prints, and sent out to friends, influencer­s and VIPs. Every jar is swaddled in a linen-lined basket surrounded by giant lemons and frondy sprigs of elderflowe­r – all of which must have cost more than the actual jam.

Mine hasn’t arrived yet – it’s probably stuck in customs. Or there is no room on Meghan’s most wanted freebie list, packed with noted jam lovers such as Mr S Spielberg, Mr Bob Disney, Oprah, Elmo, Big Bird and the assorted wives of Hollywood hotshots who might, just might, prove useful in future.

Now look. Do you honestly believe I am going to write about every single item that Meghan Markle sells on her American Riviera Orchard brand website? Do you really think I am so shallow? So downright mean? Then you are completely correct. I am all that – and less.

For while Meghan’s upscale marketable­s might well turn out to be unoriginal, they will always be unignorabl­e. And I am going to love all of it. Bring on the sculpted candles and the charity salad dressings and the foragedshe­ll napkin rings.

What will the hero product be? Yuzu marshmallo­ws? Calligraph­y pen kits for writing encouragin­g messages on bananas to cheer up sex workers? Live, laugh, love, ladies! You have to look through the rain to see the rainbow!

It has been four long years since Peter Phillips, son of Princess Anne, appeared in a television advert flogging Jersey milk (‘This is what I drink’) to the notoriousl­y lactose-unfriendly Chinese market.

For royal fans starved of such cheapening, grisly sights, American Riviera Orchard is the shopping event of the century: a celebrity marketing moment bigger even than civilian Sylvester Stallone’s tinned High

Protein Puddings, Katy Perry launching her Corn Popchips range (‘it’s my dream snack’) or Sarah Ferguson flogging cranberry juice and teapots on US television back in the 1990s.

The labels state that Meghan’s jam has been ‘sourced in Montecito’, but listen, jamsters, that could mean anything. Sourced from a factory, sourced from a farm, sourced from the bruised fruit bargain bins in the Montecito Tesco.

Was the jam grown, harvested and handpicked in a local strawberry patch? Did the duchess herself hull the berries, measure the sugar, check in the pectin and skim the scum?

There is no detail – and vagueness in the provenance of perishable goods is never an encouragin­g sign. If Meghan were to sell the jams as opposed to forcing them upon strangers, the products would have to be approved by the US Food and Drug Administra­tion, which is a whole different jam game.

PERHAPS, we will learn more when the two new Netflix documentar­y series about the couple are broadcast next year. In one, Meghan will share the ‘joys of cooking, gardening, entertaini­ng and friendship’ – most of which she is demonstrab­ly unqualifie­d to do.

The second series finds Harry giving ‘unpreceden­ted access to the world of profession­al polo’ – the exclusive, elitist sport few people care about outside polo circles. Maybe they could combine the two documentar­y strands and have Meghan making sandwiches for some thunderous­ly handsome Argentinia­n polo players while writing encouragin­g words on their bananas, too. That would bring in the viewers.

Meanwhile, this ambitious pair of control freaks will be executivel­y producing everything, from the polo shoots to the avocado-potting sessions to the labels on the jars of strawberry delight – rolling out a carefully curated, highly sanitised, hugely commercial­ised version of their lives for public consumptio­n and private profit.

Another day, another desperate Montecito dollar. This time with jam on it.

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